In a course on theology and beauty, I ask my students why music has been
such a persistent feature of Christian worship across history and
cultures. In essay after essay, they tell me that this is because music
moves us emotionally. Of course this is true. Music engages our emotions
and in this way enriches our worship.
Early Christian writers also
recognized music's affective power. Just as often, however, they
commended music for its powers of harmony--in both the musical and
extramusical sense of that word. Music seemed to them a sounding image
of rightly ordered relationships.